WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4) – A pleasant Sunday motorcycle ride suddenly turned into a life-or-death situation for a West Jordan couple last summer. Fortunately, help was less than a minute away.
Dwayne and Paige Pryor were cruising along Highway 68 on the west side of Utah Lake that day when tragedy struck. Luckily, in a county of 2,144 square miles, two Utah County Sheriff’s deputies just happened to be one mile away.
Married for 29 years, Dwayne and Paige love each other, their three daughters, and riding motorcycles, but everything changed at 10:33 a.m. on July 26, 2020, near Mile Marker 21.
“I saw the bike go down,” Dwayne told Behind The Badge. “I saw her go down.”
Paige had drifted into the opposite lane, then overcorrected and slammed into a guard rail, knocking her unconscious and nearly severing her left arm above the elbow. Dwayne used his belt as a makeshift tourniquet.
“I had a hold of the belt but I had to hold it,” he said. “Any time I tried to clip it, it would release so the pressure would stop and the bleeding would continue.”
Deputy Tony Sorensen was training rookie Deputy Amber Steele that day and, on a whim, decided to take her to a sheriff’s shooting range in the area. They were on State Route 68 when the call popped up on their computer screen
“We were there within 30 seconds,” Deputy Sorensen said. “You could see a lot of blood coming out. The husband had actually tried to use his belt for a tourniquet. It wasn’t tight enough so I put my tourniquet and just continued tightening it until I seen the blood stop.”
“She was trying to sit up, kept trying to talk,” Deputy Steele remembered. “She was strong. She was trying to fight it and you could see it, but obviously in a lot of pain, in and out of consciousness.”
16 minutes later, a helicopter arrived to take Paige to the hospital.
“I had a paramedic come up to me after she was loaded onto the helicopter and he asked me, he goes ‘Did you apply that tourniquet?’ and the first thing in my brain was ‘Oh no I did it wrong,'” Deputy Sorensen said. “Then he says ‘You saved her life.’ He says ‘The quick thinking and putting it on the way you did saved her life’.
“He did absolutely save her life,” Deputy Steele said. “It was right place, right time. In a terrible situation, it was a lucky place to be.”
Doctors had to amputate Paige’s left arm and head injuries have affected her mobility and speech, but she remains positive.
“I’m doing remarkably well,” she said.
Some people who have heard the story call it divine intervention.
“They’ve said I was her guardian angel or the stars aligned,” Deputy Sorensen. “What brought us out there that day nobody will ever know.”
I asked Dwayne what he’d like to say to Deputies Sorensen and Steele.
“How do you say thank you to you know, somebody who allowed us to still be together?” Dwayne said, holding back tears. “We think of them all the time. We’re glad that they were there when they were.”
Deputy Sorensen tells ABC4 he still can’t explain exactly why he decided to go out to the shooting range that day.
As for Paige, her long and difficult recovery continues with the the help of Dwayne and their daughters.